We asked area chefs and caterers to share Passover recipes with our readership. Thank you to Deborah Benaim of dB Catering; Chaim Goldfeder of Palate Catering, Larry Goldstein of Catering by Larry; and Jordona Kohn of The Market, for sharing their faves.
Catering by Larry
Nothing says Pesach like kugel. I love making this kugel. It’s different and delicious.
Passover Apple Matzah Kugel
- 6 matzo boards
- 3 eggs, plus 1 egg white
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup margarine, melted
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup raisins
- 4 apples, skinned and chopped
- 1 stick margarine
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Break matzo and soak in water until soft. Drain, but do not squeeze dry.
3. Beat eggs with salt, sugar, cinnamon and melted margarine. Add to matzo.
4. Stir in walnuts, raisins and apples.
5. Pour mixture into greased casserole. Dot top with additional margarine.
6. Bake in oven for about 1 hour.
My journey into the kitchen began like so many, in my grandmothers’ kitchens. In just two generations we have uprooted from Morocco, Spain, Israel and Venezuela. I cook to remember those places, times and people. One of those recipes is Ensalada de Berenjena con Charmila. Charmila is a condiment that makes an appearance no matter what holiday it is. It’s sun-dried red bell peppers blended with some garlic and oil. What results is a bold paste that is the base layer for many of our family recipes. The tapas or salatim that appear during Passover make the grand debut at the Seder, but of course we always make enough to have leftovers as they only get better the longer they marinate. One of those tapas is a salad made of thinly sliced eggplant covered in herbs, charmila and vinaigrette. Leftovers make for a delicious quick lunch (think matzo tartine topped with tangy eggplant salad and maybe some crumbled feta).
The recipe is quite easy and you can make as much or as little as you’d like.
- 6-7 red bell peppers (or combination of red pepper varieties)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Neutral oil such as grapeseed or sunflower
1. Cut the peppers into strips (about 1 centimeter in width) and dehydrate in the oven at about 135 degrees for a few hours until most of the moisture has evaporated.
2. Keep an eye on it every 30-45 minutes and when the strips have the consistency of jerky, remove from the oven.
3. When the peppers are cool, transfer them to a blender with 1 clove of garlic and enough oil to reach about halfway.
4.Add a pinch of salt. Blend for a few seconds, just until the peppers start to homogenize with the oil. The result should be a vivid red paste.
5. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar.
Ensalada de Berenjena
- 2 eggplants
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- White vinegar
- Neutral oil such as grapeseed or sunflower
1. In a small bowl add about a half cup of charmila, parsley, salt and vinegar to taste. If the mixture seems too thick, thin it out with a tablespoon or two of water.
2. Slice the eggplant very thinly; I like to use a mandoline for this. Salt the eggplant slices as you go and place them in a colander to drain excess moisture.
3. Heat a shallow frying pan with oil and fry the slices one by one until golden and caramelized.
4. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
5. One by one, dip the slices through the herbed charmila mixture and line on a plate. Repeat until you have used all the eggplant and finish with some of the leftover herbed charmila mixture. Finish with a good drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!
Pesach brings up many memories. Meat and potatoes, potatoes and meat, maybe some vegetables with the meat and potatoes. Over the last decade or so, Passover foods have come a long way. There is really nothing we are lacking, from sushi made with quinoa to Passover-acceptable pizza dough (we still make matzo pizza in my house).
As someone who has been in a kitchen for over 30 years, I have learned a thing or two.
First, I rarely ever use a recipe exactly how it’s written; I use it as a basic guide (this doesn’t work for baking; ALWAYS use the exact recipe for baking) and tweak it based on what I have on hand and to my tastes.
Second thing is, keep it simple. Who wants to run all over town for some exotic spice? Not this guy.
Third is — mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs) is a French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking. Pans are prepared. Mixing bowls, tools and equipment are set out.
Fourth is, especially for Passover cooking, avoid matzo meal as much as possible. It’s a stomach killer!
So here is a great recipe with guidelines on how to make a tasty dish that your kids, and kids at heart, will enjoy.
Everyone loves Chicken Tenders, so here goes.
You will need (mise en place):
- Chicken strips
- Hot sauce
- Potato starch
- 2 bowls
- Frying pan
- Cutting board
- Temperature probe
Start with chicken — boneless, skinless breast of chicken. We usually figure ¼ pound to ⅓ pound per person.
1. Cut chicken into strips.
2. In a bowl, crack 2-3 eggs (more if cooking large quantities).
3. Pour in a little Passover hot sauce and some spices: salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, a little brown sugar.
4. Mix it well.
5. In another bowl, pour your potato starch (enough to coat all the chicken).
6. You’re going to spice this as well, whatever flavors you want. I also add more paprika so that it gives the chicken a more colorful appearance.
7. Coat the chicken strips into the potato starch mixture and drop into a 350-degree pot of oil.
a. You can either deep-fry, pan-fry or, for a healthier option, put on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven.
8. Cook until golden. (Internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees.)
9. Plate with some dipping sauces (duck sauce goes really well with it).
10. Serve and enjoy.
These aren’t my recipes. I got them from my mother-in-law and they are unbelievably delicious. Enjoy!
Passover Fudge Brownies
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup oil (safflower or walnut)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 11/2 cup cake meal
- ¾ cup cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup chopped nuts, optional
1. Beat eggs; add sugar, beat; add margarine, beat well.
2. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Mix well. Stir in nuts, if desired.
3. Pour into greased 9×13-inch pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25-30 minutes.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups cake meal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Cinnamon and sugar
1. Beat eggs and sugar till fluffy.
2. Add cake meal, salt and oil and stir well. Add nuts.
3. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Grease cookie sheet.
4. Divide dough into 4 rolls. Wet hands and shape into long strips, making a ridge down the center of each strip. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Remove from oven and put a different-flavored jam in the ridge down the center of each strip. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
6. Bake 25 minutes longer. Cut into slices when cool.